Pros and cons of being an at-home parent

I’m surprised that confetti and Skittles didn’t fall from the sky seeing how I’m the one millionth person to put this idea into their blog, but I’m going to do it anyway. Take from it what you will: if you’re one of the previous 999,999 to already do this, take solace in knowing I did not copy from you and if you’re not a parent and have yet to read a list like this, here’s what you’ve got to look forward to.

Oh wait, there’s the confetti!

And before you kill me for the “narrow-minded” title, the following statements/pros/cons/snarky comments can and have (I’m sure) been applicable to all parents, not just at-home parents. However, since I’ve spent most of my time parenting as an at-home parent, that’s the angle I’m taking. It’s supposed to be part serious, part snarky, maybe even humorous, so all the Literal Larry/Laura’s out there, please, relax.

I reached out to the dads who are members of the National At-Home Dad Network for some input and got some good feedback – I used some of them and had a similar thought-process as others.

The idea is that for each pro there must be a con (along with a related GIF below, which I finally discovered), because as is with everything in life, you take the good with the bad. It’s how it goes.

Without further ado, here is my debatable and highly unintellectual and scatterbrained list of the pros and cons of being at at-home parent.

1. PRO: Watching your kid(s) grow up, learning all their quirks and intricacies, understanding what the hell they’re trying to say, the memories I’m making with them everyday, it goes on and on.

1. CON: Lack of a salary. I know, “You save your family money blah blah blah…,” I get that, I do, but it’s always nice to bring in some greenbacks.

2. PRO: Getting used to functioning on little to no sleep.

2. CON: What little sleep you might get is spent fearing their dreaded middle-of-the-night wakeup call or cry,, so are you really sleeping? Whoever coined that stupid phrase never had kids. “Sleep like a baby,” pssssssssh.

3. PRO: A t-shirt and sweatpants is high-fashion to a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old, and when it’s raining/snowing/crappy outside, we don’t have to leave the house.

3. CON: An increase in laundry due to spilled food/vomit/spit-up on shirt when we head somewhere other people will see us.

4a. PRO: Showers aren’t completely necessary…

4a. CON: …until later in the day you realize you smell like vomit. And it just may be the only alone time you’re likely to get.

…or

4b. PRO: Water bills tend to be lower…

4b. CON: …because you don’t need to shower. (thanks Chris – and go follow his BLOG and check out his Kickstarter as he’s looking to publish a children’s book)

5. PRO: Living the park life every day, as long as it’s not raining.

5. CON: The ensuing breakdown that occurs when it’s time to leave the park.

6. PRO: You’re home all day with your kids, YESSSSSSSS!

6. CON: You’re home ALL day with your kids, AHHHHHHHH! (thanks Brett)

7. PRO: You’re raising your own kids, helping control what they’re exposed to, and not leaving them in day care at the mercy of other parents who decide to send their kids in regardless if they’re sick or not.

7. CON: Very little interaction with anyone over the age of three, thus making adult interaction even more enjoyable (thanks SC Skip). Also you may find yourself using a 3-year-old’s lexicon in public.

8. PRO: Chances are you’ve listened to so much crying and screaming and so many temper tantrums that you’re practically immune to it or can mentally prepare yourself for their wrath. (I’m NOT saying to just let your kid cry/scream/etc., thought crying is a way to express feelings)

8. CON: Well, crying and screaming generally means an unhappy kid and temper tantrums, even though they might make you chuckle a bit on the inside, are no good.

9. PRO: You’re bigger, faster, and stronger than they are, so there should be relatively no beef between you and your employees. (or should it be the other way around?)

9. CON: They’re slipperier, more unpredictable, and tough to wrangle, especially mid-diaper change when they can spring a sneak attack on you. A 5-month-old might only be 13 pounds but trying to pin them down to change a diaper is quite a task.

10. PRO: There’s little reason to do too good a job cleaning up the toys, unless people are coming over, seeing how 45 seconds later, they’re likely to be scattered all over the place again.

10. CON: Waking up to pee in the middle of the night and stepping on Matchbox cars/Legos/etc. and holding in your scream.

11. PRO: Cooking means controlling what your family eats and introducing your kid(s) to new foods.

11. CON: Lots of uneaten meals since a (my) three-year-old’s diet consists of cereal, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, chicken, french fries, carrot sticks, applesauce, pizza, peanut butter and jelly, pasta with no sauce and ketchup.

12. PRO: You can often convince them kids that the only kind of music anyone should listen to is Southern Rock (and they eventually start singing the lyrics to “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band)…

12. CON: …but they remind you that the only types of shows on television are on Disney Junior and there’s often one episode they’ll watch until the cows come home.

13. PRO: You get to set your own schedule…

13. CON: …that often revolves around the nap time of two kids who, if they miss nap, turn into raging animals at around five in the afternoon.

14. PRO: Getting a few hours to spend with your wife/husband after successfully putting the kid(s) to sleep.

14. CON: Feeling like a prisoner in your own home, knowing that a creaky floorboard is a trigger to a wake-up-screaming fit.

15. PRO: Hopefully getting to hang with the other at-home dads next fall in Raleigh for the 20th Annual At-Home Dad Convention. (pretty good idea Mike)

15. CON: Leaving the Wifester and maniacs for a few days.

So there you have it, a little lengthier than anticipated, but I kept coming up with and getting great ideas. If you think I missed any, feel free to comment. Until next time America, stay positive.

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